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April 2007

Laptop Lunch Times: April 2007

April 2007

In this issue, you'll find:

  • From Our Desk to Yours...
  • Favorite Photo
  • Recipes from The Visual Guide
  • Green Opportunities
  • Z Recommends...Laptop Lunches
  • New Retailers
  • The Making of a Healthy Lunch DVD
  • What works...Success Stories
  • Featured Web site:

From Our Desk to Yours...Reminders

LAPTOP LUNCH PHOTO GALLERY: We've just recently added a photo gallery to our Web site at If you're looking for inspirational photos, take a look. If you have a photo to share, please email it to us at Be sure to check back from time to time to see new photos and experience cool, new features.

PRODUCT REQUEST FORM: In response to the large number of people asking "How can I get my local retail store to carry Laptop Lunches?" we've created a printer-friendly request form that you can fill out and take to your local retailer. This new form is available at

GIFT CERTIFICATES COMING SOON: Looking for a convenient way to purchase Laptop Lunch products for friends and family? Laptop Lunch gift certificates will soon be available for purchase on our Web site. You'll receive your gift certificate by email just moments after you order it. It's the perfect last-minute "grab and go" waste-free gift! Keep an eye out for the gift certificate link COMING SOON!

Amy and Tammy

Got a favorite photo to share?

Email it to us at [email protected], and we'll publish it here!

"I'm surprised at how easy it is to make a hearty lunch with the Laptop Lunchbox--we just use dinner leftovers. It's faster than making a sandwich!"

  • Hummus-stuffed falafel over iceberg lettuce cups
  • "Turkish Salad" (Tomato-red pepper spread)
  • Organic baby greens with carrots, tomatoes, avocado, and alfalfa sprouts
  • Homemade vegan part-whole-grain spelt brownie with pecans
  • balsamic vinaigrette

"This lunch was all organic, from the vegetables, right down to the tomato paste, tamari, cooking oil, herbs, and pasta. I didn't do that intentionally, but I did have all that stuff on hand... that says a lot about the availability of organic products in California now. Even if you're not shopping at farmers' markets, high-quality affordable food is readily available at Safeway and Trader Joe's. I hope we start to see some big changes in the lunches kids bring to school. As a nutrition major, I really appreciate what your company has done to raise the quality of school lunches."

"We are college students--I'm a nutrition & dietetics major and my boyfriend is taking pre-reqs for physical therapy school after graduating from Cal in Molecular & Cell Biology. Thanks again for a great product! This lunch box has really inspired us to make more complete meals for ourselves! I can't wait to order another one soon... :-) "

       --Amie, Concord, CA

Pasta Primavera

Makes 4 servings

  • 2 cups Pasta, small dried
  • 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup onions, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 14 cherry tomatoes, diced small
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup frozen peas
  • ¼ cup frozen corn
  • 1 Tbs fresh basil, finely chopped
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil dried pasta in water for about 10 minutes. Pasta should remain slightly firm.
2. In a small saucepan, sauté olive oil, onions and garlic on medium-low heat for 3 minutes.
3. Add cherry tomatoes, frozen peas, corn and water. Sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Mix in cooked, drained pasta. Let cool.
4. Toss in fresh basil, mozzarella, salt and pepper to taste.

Copyright © 2006 by Alyna Personalized Entertainment, LLC.

Fresh Raspberries & Peanut butter Sandwich

Makes 2 Servings

  • ¼ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 Tbs. raspberry jam, 100% pure fruit
  • ½ tsp. 100% pure maple syrup,
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raspberries, fresh
  • 4 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread

1. Mix together peanut butter, syrup, vanilla and raspberry jam until well blended. .
2. Spread nut butter mixture on both top and bottom pieces of bread.
3. Press fresh raspberries into spread.
Press sandwich gently together (this will keep berries from falling out).
Copyright © 2006 by Alyna Personalized Entertainment, LLC.

Green Opportunities

Some earth-friendly tidbits that have landed in our office in recent weeks...

  • WHY DO PAPER CHOICES MATTER? – By choosing the right paper, you can save wood, water, and energy, and reduce pollution and solid waste. The Paper Calculator at is a great tool for helping your company, community, school, non-profit or other organization measure the benefits of better paper choices. Enter the grade and quantity of paper you use to see how using less paper, increasing recycled content, or making other changes can reduce your environmental impact.

  • LATE JULY– These crunchy crackers fit perfectly inside the Laptop Lunchbox. Late July Organic Snacks is a family owned and operated company that cares about family and the integrity of their products. All of their products are certified USDA organic.
  • THE CENTER FOR HEALTH, ENVIRONMENT AND JUSTICE AUCTION – For 25 years, CHEJ has empowered people to "make the link" between health and the environment. Through community organizing, public education, and consumer campaigns, CHEJ's network of 10,000 grassroots partners is making the world safer and healthier for all of us! Their fundraising auction opened on March 31st and will run through April. To find out what's being offered (besides a Laptop Lunch System), visit them online at
  • CLIMATE CHANGE – Earth Day Network's Earth Day TV aims to create a true planetary network of climate change activities through intelligent, passionate programming accompanied by the latest interactive capabilities. Visit them online at

Z Recommends...Laptop Lunches

We bought our first Laptop Lunch bento-style lunch box for Z as a Christmas gift. Since she only needs lunch two days a week, we started using hers the rest of the week. Finally, we decided that we each really needed our own, so we ordered two more.

Our most recent Laptop Lunch purchase: Pink for Mom, multicolored (not shown) for Dad. The two of us swapped around parts with Z until we were all satisfied with the arrangement.

Read the rest of the story at:

New Retailers

Little Skye Children's Boutique
970 N Harris Road, 1C
Grayslake, IL 60030
(847) 543-1975

Brookline Booksmith
279 Harvard Street
Brookline, MA 02446
(617) 566-6660

Coming April 5th 2007 to New Seasons Markets!
New Seasons - Arbor Lodge
6400 N Interstate
Portland, OR 97217
(503) 467-4777

New Seasons - Concordia
5320 NE 33rd Avenue
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 288-3838
New Seasons - Cedar Hills Crossing
3495 SW Cedar Hills Boulevard
Beaverton, OR 97005
(503) 641-4181

New Seasons - Mountain Park
3 Monroe Parkway
Lake Oswego, OR 97035
(503) 496-1155
New Seasons - Orenco Station
1453 NE 61st Ave
Hillsboro, OR 97124
(503) 648-6968

New Seasons - Seven Corners
1954 SE Division Street
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 445-2888
New Seasons - Raleigh Hills
7300 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy
Portland, OR 97225
(503) 292-6838
New Seasons - Sellwood
1214 SE Tacoma Street
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 230-4949

Urban Homemaker -

Visit for a complete list of retailers.

Want to see Laptop Lunches at a store in your neighborhood? Email us at [email protected], and we'll give them a call.

Obentec Interview with Laura Pasetta: The Making of a Healthy Lunch DVD

Hi Laura. Congratulations on all your recent success! As a busy parent I might be able to guess how you became interested in making lunches, but what's the real story?

Years ago when our two daughters first began to take a lunch box to school, my husband and I quickly realized what a juggling act homemade lunches could be. Two children with polar-opposite tastes left us preparing two completely different lunches. As the school year wore on, more and more of what was packed returned home untouched, and we both became frustrated.

Then, one day while on a family hike, we settled under a tree for lunch, and that's when we understood. We pulled out our lunch, but our sandwiches were smashed and oozed filling. The crackers were pulverized, and the water was hot. It was the most disgusting meal we had ever eaten - and my husband and I had made it! I was about to make a soggy-sandwich joke to lighten the mood when our daughter said, "This is how my sandwich and water get at school."

From then on, we began preparing a healthy lunch our kids would look forward to eating. We interviewed our children and others, tested new recipes, and studied books on food presentation. Through time and effort, both my husband and I became boxed-lunch experts, and our kids loved it.

Amy: So how did this problem-solving journey lead to the making of a DVD?

After hearing our lunch box success, friends and family began asking for a lunchmaking class aimed at teaching how to make healthy lunches their kids would eat. So a class was created for local parents - and the response was overwhelming. The lunchmaking classes were packed, and there was a waiting list to get in. That's when we discovered that while all parents know healthy lunches are important, most lack the hands-on training necessary to prepare them.

The demand for this type of class became so great, my husband and I decided to produce a step-by-step DVD to teach the seven basic principles for building a healthy lunch. Once released, viewers raved about the simple, easy-to-navigate format of the DVD; our straightforward demonstrations taught them what no cookbook ever could. It wasn't long before we realized we were onto a winning concept and our company, The Visual Guide, was born.

Today, our company is in production on an entire library of DVDs, covering a variety of family-friendly topics. Each video is produced with The Visual Guide's core philosophy in mind: while words may inform, demonstration teaches. Our products are always easy to follow, always hands-on, and always packed with valuable information that can be used over and over again.

Amy: Your DVD is, indeed, packed with great ideas for packing nutritious lunches. What are some basic tips that readers will take away with them?

1- Plan Ahead - Prepping lunches the night before gives you flexibility and control. If you spend mornings in a mad dash, cramming lunch prep into the chaos, it'll be the first to fall by the wayside.

2 - Include Your Child - Encourage your child to participate in the process. He or she will be more likely to eat whatever you prepare!

3 - Don't Get Discouraged - If your child is not eating wholesome choices at first, that's normal! Overcome resistance by experimenting with ingredients until you find what your child likes.

4 - Make It Fun - Kids are all about fun! One way to make a fun lunch is to cut fruits, vegetables, and sandwiches into shapes.

Check out the DVD for many more ideas.

Amy: Some parents really don't have enough time to pack nutritious lunches for their family. What advice do you have for them?
Laura: Tip number one, Planning Ahead, is a great tool for parents who want to make a healthy lunch but don't have time in the morning.
Amy: What do your kids like to eat for lunch?
Laura: Our kids like a wide variety of foods, primarily because I try to cook with seasonal recipes. This ensures that their lunches are constantly changing. Cooking and preparing lunches centered around what's seasonally available is a fantastic way to mix it up so they don't get bored!
Amy: What's your favorite lunch?
Laura: Hot soup with a slice of whole grain bread or a grilled, veggie sandwich with sharp cheddar cheese on sour dough bread! These are also now our kids' favorites, which makes menu planning so much easier for the whole family.
Amy: What has been your greatest source of inspiration?

My mother inspired me a lot. When I was a child, I was lucky. My mother prepared a homemade lunch for me to take to school every day. I wasn't always excited about the carrot sticks or oatmeal cookies; however, her attention to detail made me feel special and loved.

I never truly appreciated what a gift my mom's boxed lunches were until she passed away when I was a teenager. I clearly remember one day, after her death, choking down a generic, school-provided hot lunch while my friend unpacked her mother's homemade sandwich and fresh cookies. It was in that moment that I truly understood the impact a simple act like a homemade lunch can have.

Then and there I made a promise that when I became a parent, I would carry on my mother's tradition of making lunch: a simple gesture of love and caring for my children to take to school. Looking back on how far my family's come, and what an interesting route we've taken to get here, I realize how truly blessed I was to have a caring mother whose homemade lunches not only encouraged me to do the same, but inspired a thriving home-based business that has allowed us to share our talents with the world while still staying home to raise our children. This loving gesture from my childhood has grown over time and now bears fruit of its own. Thanks, Mom.

Laura Pasetta, co-founder of The Visual Guide, lives in Southern California with her husband, Greg, and their two daughters.

What Works...Success Stories

"I first heard of laptop lunches by reading an article in Body & Soul magazine. I take my lunch to school every day, and I always have felt terrible about all the waste that results from the use and disposal of juice boxes and little plastic baggies for sandwiches. I also gained inspiration from the bento box idea. I love sushi and a sushi bar in town serves lunch in bento boxes. I thought the laptop lunch system was so unique, both in design and purpose. I bought my laptop lunchbox in June and have been using it ever sense. Wishing you great business!"

        --Ariel Morrison, Columbia, MO

"Wow, I am so glad to have found your lunch boxes! I have been trying for the last several years to come up with a combination of reusable containers, and it has never been quite right. I hate the thought of unnecessary waste and could never get the items to fit together in containers I felt comfortable putting my kids' food in.

"My girls were so excited this morning looking at your Web site picking out the color they wanted. Jane, who is nine, even wanted to pay $20.00 of her own money. They are good eaters, conscientious about waste, and happy to learn new things.

"I like your newsletter; I have a newsletter on our school Web site about healthy lunches and snacks and will be happy to share your information as well. Thanks!"

        --Kelly Lively, Maple City, MI

"My boys have been using your lunch boxes this year and we're loving them so far! I had been really sickened by the amount of packaging we were using and frustrated with either trying to fit tupperware in the box with the corresponding loss of lids or having the food squish around in baggies, becoming more unappetizing by the minute. I don't consider the school lunches a good option with their disposable trays and silverware or, on the fast days, brown bags with everything individually wrapped inside.

"We personalized our boxes with stickers and since we started using the bento boxes nearly every lunch comes home completely devoured. Before it was very hard to get the kids to eat vegetables sent in their lunches, but that is no longer a problem. One teacher has been hanging over my oldest's lunch in anticipation every day to see what's next! I passed her our spare copy of your book and was thanked profusely. Thank you for your wonderful product!!"

        --Allison, Atlanta, GA

Do you have a success story or photo to share? Email it to us at [email protected].

Featured Web Site:

A Shopper's Guide to Home Tissue Products

Shop smart. Save forests.

Visit this Natural Resources Defense Council Web page for a detailed analysis of specific FACIAL TISSUE, TOILET PAPER, PAPER TOWELS, AND NAPKIN brands.

  • Do the products you buy contain recycled content?
  • Are they made with clean, safe processes?


If every household in the United States replaced just one package of virgin fiber napkins (250 count) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 1 million trees.

May Highlights

Spring Salads, Green Opportunities, and Strategies for Preventing Childhood Obesity!


Comments, questions, concerns? Please email us at [email protected].

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© April 2007 Obentec, Inc.

849 Almar Ave., Suite C-323
Santa Cruz, CA 95060


Feel free to reprint or forward this newsletter with the following acknowledgment and contact information clearly visible: "Thank you to Obentec, Inc. for permission to use this copyrighted material. For more information, contact Obentec, Inc. by email at [email protected] or by phone at 831-457-0301, or visit their Web site at Reprint permission granted with this full notice included."